In Paul Dix's latest book After the Adults Change, there is a recognition that the questions of how we improve the behaviour in our schools is one that very much polarises opinion. From the opening page, Paul clearly sets out where he stands from a deeply personal perspective. His approach is based on meeting the needs of every child and not just those in a position to engage with learning. His approach is relational rather than transactional and is underpinned by empathy, consistency and decency. Paul does not deny that this is a messy business, and neither does he claim that there are easy answers, but that is a whole lot better than pretending otherwise.
In this book he exposes the practice of punishing young people who, because of their life experience, cannot self-regulate as not only immoral but also completely ineffective. He offers an alternative, but one that requires skill and utilises the power of emotionally consistent adult behaviour.
I already agree with his approach, and didn't need to be convinced - but I still found myself scribbling notes on how I could explicitly articulate the -˜why' of this approach and also on how to improve our school's
systems, making use of the many practical examples provided.
With impressive clarity, Paul focuses on authenticity over gimmicks and provides an outstanding framework for improving behaviour in a culture where understanding replaces blame and responsibility stems from positive relationships.